Dickinson College governs its student body though a set of Community Standards. The Community Standards are in place to ensure that the College maintains a suitable learning environment for its students. The College relies on a review and resolution process to discipline students who may have violated the Community Standards. Anyone is able to submit a report of a violation against a student if they believe a violation has occurred. Reports of violations are submitted to the Vice President & Dean of Student Life.
Dickinson College Misconduct Resolutions
When action is being taken against a student for misconduct, there are two options to resolve the misconduct accusation. These options are Informal Resolution and Formal Resolution. Academic misconduct accusations are always handled by a Formal Resolution.
Informal Resolution is meant to resolve conflicts while maintaining community trust between the parties involved. The overall goal of Informal Resolution is a mutual agreement of fairness in the outcome. This process is typically used when facts are not in dispute and the outcome does not affect the student's standing with the College. There are several methods used to facilitate the Informal Resolution process, these include a conference with college personnel, mediation, or peer meetings. At any point in the process either of the parties can request a formal resolution. Informal Resolution negates any chances at an appeal.
Formal Resolution can be used when it is requested, when facts are in dispute, or when the specific misconduct is not able to be resolved informally. Cases that make it to the Formal Resolution level will be adjudicated and determined by either a hearing officer or a hearing panel. Hearing panels will be selected from a pool of volunteers, and will consist of 1 student, 1 faculty member, and the Associate Provost serving as chair. Throughout hearings, the party bringing charges against a student will be known as the "complaining party," while the student facing charges will be known as the "responding party."
Prior to a hearing, the responding party will be notified of the hearing in writing. At hearings, the panel or officer will begin the hearing. The complaining party presents information first, including any witnesses. Following this, the responding party presents their information, including any supporting witnesses they may have. At any point in the hearing, the hearing panel or officer can question both the parties and witnesses. After all of the information has been heard, the panel or officer will deliberate. The decision will be made using the standard of "more likely than not."
At hearings, students may have an advisor accompanying them, although this advisor must be a member of the College community. While this may seem like a good idea, a member of the College community is likely to lack the skills, experience and dedication necessary to help a student put up a good defense at a hearing. An attorney working from behind the scenes can be a great resource for a student. Attorneys will offer insight into key strategies used in the courtroom, such as evidence presentation and witness questioning, that can be a great tactic to make use of in a College hearing setting.
Dickinson College Appeals
If the hearing results in an unfavorable outcome, students have 5 business days from the notification of decision letter. The grounds for appeal are a deviation from college policy, a claim that the assigned sanctions were too harsh, or new information to be considered. Appeals are heard by a designated Appeals Panel. Sometimes the panel will find it necessary to meet with the parties from the initial hearing. If the sanction was suspension or expulsion, a secondary appeal can be made to the President within 5 business days on the same grounds.
If you or your student is currently facing disciplinary action from Dickinson College, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.